The Earnslaw Park toilets will serve a dual purpose on
Sunday, January 19 when an Arrowtown artist's series of
digital text paintings depicting the female form is exhibited
in the cubicles.
Although the first response from the Queenstown Lakes
District Council, reported in the Otago Daily Times
last month, said exhibition in council spaces of the
paintings would not be permitted because ''some members of
the public may find it offensive'', artist Paul Sewter has
now been granted permission.
''It's very encouraging, for sure,'' Mr Sewter said.
Essentially, he was using public toilets as a space to
exhibit his art just to do ''something different'' but also
so more of the general public got to see it, as ''sometimes
people feel a bit intimidated by going to art galleries''.
The paintings would not prevent people from using the toilets
for their main purpose during the ''pop-up'' one-day
exhibition, which would run from about 9am-6pm.
They feature coloured images of the female form in various
poses and were created after Mr Sewter read Shakespeare
sonnets, then selected lines of text and repeated them as the
The words were also used to create a virtual paintbrush, used
on an electronic tablet, to create the images.
Mr Sewter said the Earnslaw Park exhibition would be titled
Fountain Sonnets, which was a nod to 20th century
French-American artist Marcel Duchamp's submission of a
porcelain urinal to an exhibition organised by the Society of
''I'm sort of reversing that [by] putting art in a public
A week after the Earnslaw Park exhibition, Mr Sewter - who
graduated from London's Camberwell College of Arts in 2007
with an MA (distinction) specialising in digital painting -
will exhibit his ''Control, Alt, Delete'' collection in the
Queenstown Gardens on January 26.
Council spokeswoman Meaghan Miller said the concept was
unique and the council was happy to support the initiative.
''Given the artist will be on site throughout the event, he
has the ability to receive direct feedback from the community
and we wish him all the best,'' Ms Miller said.
''There will be a small section of the public toilets set
aside which will not be subject to the exhibition for those
who choose not to experience the art.''